There are many skiers who try some other sports in between the snow seasons – running, biking, triathlon, etc. Myself, I got into mountain biking for several years – so much so, that I almost quit cross-country skiing. I do, however, live up north, in Petrozavodsk, in the Russian part of Karelia. We have snow on the ground there for some 6 months a year. Living in a place like that, you either can’t wait for the winter to come – or you hate it.
I’m in Italy on vacation right now, and much as I like the beautiful scenery, warm sea, and ideal mountain-biking conditions too, I would not want to live here.
1.We, the skiers, are different from the rest of humanity – they see shorter days and the rain, while we see “the winter is coming”. Same as in the spring – everybody around dislikes lingering sub-zero temperatures, while we enjoy a few extra days/weeks of skiing.
I have my theory as to why Norwegians came on top of the World’s Happiness Index this year (and consistently close every other) – there are simply a lot of winter cold days with snow in the country, where everybody is born with their skis already clipped on!
2. Summer is for relaxing. But if you’re a summer sport enthusiast, you simply can’t – there’s always some Ironman, Spartan, or marathon to be run next week or month, and you have to train hard and live on a training schedule. It gets worse if you have kids: you really want to just kick back and spend some time with them without that constant guilty feeling in your head about yet another missed aerobic workout. The skiers can, since unless you’re a world-class athlete, the real season preps start about the same time your kids go back to school in autumn.
3.We, the skiers, do not suffer from oppressive heat while training. Personally, I could never ever get used to sweating in heat, having to drink a lot, and everything else that summer training entails. Yes, the human body has a very narrow comfort zone. But when you’re cold in the winter, you simply add an extra layer of clothing. There’s nothing to be added or subtracted from your clothing when all you already have is running shirts on!
4.Having said that, cold is a better motivator than heat. Makes you move, makes you think and act faster – there must be something primal, from the days our forefathers were cave dwelling, about brains’ adjustment to inclement weather. Your body knows that, to survive, it needs to move and move at certain pace, so it can work longer.
5. From atavistic brain functions back to the modern world: it’s cheaper to travel in the winter. Just check the airfare and hotel costs from around now against those in January-February. We want to run Worldloppet, Euroloppet and any other -loppet marathons not just for an adrenalin of the race – we want to travel the world and see new places.
To sum it up: lucky are those, living in the cold climes and enjoying skiing. We get the best of both worlds – half of the year the whole place turns into a big stadium for our sport, while short summer months we cherish the warmth and a chance to be outside with the family. And regarding all of your running/biking/triathloning friends: a) check out when their birthdays are b) give them a pair of skis as a birthday gift. A year later they’ll tell you how much new they have learned in life!